Sheila O’Donnell Burrello, 78, beloved mother, grandmother and friend to many, passed away January 5, 2021 in Bloomington, Indiana.
Born February 14, 1942 in Fall River, Massachusetts, Sheila was the only child of Thomas O’Donnell and Margaret Morgan. Margaret died of tuberculosis six weeks later. Sheila was raised by her father, grandmother, and doted on by her aunt Helen and uncle Doc. When she was thirteen her father married Mary Murray. Sheila graduated from Sacred Heart High School and then attended Emanuel College in Boston. She met her husband, Leonard Burrello, while receiving her Masters in Education at Temple University in Philadelphia. Her husband’s teaching career took the young couple to White Planes, NY, Ann Arbor, MI and finally to Bloomington, Indiana. Each summer she returned to her east coastal roots, spending summers in her beloved Westport Harbor, where she had spent summers at the family’s cottage as a girl. She was happiest feeding a household of friends. Her summer porch became club house of sorts. She was said to collect people.
At first a reluctant Hoosier, Sheila came to embraced by her local community. In Bloomington, Sheila raised her two children and became a valuable fundraiser and booster for civic and community projects. She volunteered for leadership positions with the Youth Hockey Association, the University Women’s Club, public school committees, and the Ladies’ Auxiliary supporting the Bloomington Boy’s and Girl’s club. She also served for a time as president of her family’s company, Elephant Rock Productions. Her greatest accomplishment was spearheading the fundraising of Jill’s House, a home for families receiving medical treatment at Indiana University. When local business owners saw Sheila approach they took out their checkbooks and simply said, “How much do you need, Sheila.” She was selfless in her pursuit of the needs of those less fortunate. She loved everybody. Sheila battled illness for many years but kept active. In her later years she served as a “friend of music” at the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music. Quite an achievement for a woman who had trouble tuning a car radio.
She leaves behind two children, Jotham Murray Burrello (Ashford, Connecticut) and his wife Kristin, and Elizabeth Sheehan Opie (Chicago, Illinois), and her husband Brett Opie, as well as five grandchildren, Lindsay Opie, Jake Opie, Atticus Burrello, Miles Burrello, and Jotham Burrello. She will be buried beside her father Thomas and step-mother Mary in St. Patrick’s Cemetery in Fall River, Mass. Due to Covid-19 restrictions the family will hold a private funeral, and arrange for celebrations to celebrate Sheila’s life at a later date.
The Funeral Chapel of Powell and Deckard in Bloomington is handling local arrangements.
In lieu of flowers, please contribute expressions of sympathy to a memorial fund the family is establishing at the Boys & Girls Clubs of Bloomington. Mailing address: P.O. Box 1716, Bloomington, IN 47402 or https://bgcbloomington.org/donate/. List Sheila Burrello in the comment box for online contributions.